If you’re noticing urgent-looking notifications in your dealership’s Facebook Ads Manager account, you aren’t alone.

Since Apple’s latest iOS 14 update officially rolled out in April 2021, many auto marketers are struggling to grasp just what this update means for their dealership’s Facebook advertising success.

While we don’t know the full impact this software update will have for auto dealers just yet, here’s what we know about iOS 14 and the actions auto dealers should take immediately to maximize their automotive Facebook ad success.

What is This Update and Why Does it Impact My Facebook Advertising?

The reason why this update is causing such a commotion among automotive marketers is due to the AppTrackingTransparency prompt that allows users to opt out of having their browsing activity tracked by Facebook (and all other apps) on Apple devices.

Any good automotive marketer can tell you that having the ability to track web browsing activity is a go-to strategy for serving relevant ads to current and potential customers. As more people opt out of tracking, audience size will inevitably decrease in size.

Apple’s update also directly impacts how Facebook processes and reports on data. As a result, Facebook has moved from a pixel-based tracking system to Aggregated Event Measurement as a way to measure web events from iOS 14 users.

Three Action Items for Auto Marketers

The iOS 14 update and transition to Aggregated Event Measurement requires immediate action from auto dealers and other businesses advertising on Facebook.

1. Verify Your Web Domain

The very first step your marketing team needs to take is to verify your domain. This is a necessary step in order to optimize your web events.

Not sure if your domain is verified? If the verification process has already been completed, you will see a “verified” message under your domain in Facebook Business Settings.

2. Optimize Web Events

Next auto marketers will need to configure up to eight web events as part of Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement tool. Facebook uses these events to optimize the ad delivery process.

In order to optimize events, marketers will need to navigate to “Events Manager” in Facebook. From here you can follow Facebook’s prompts to managing events and deciding which events are top priority for your dealership.

3. Strategically Expand Your Ad Targeting

Custom audience size is one casualty of the iOS 14 update. However, this decrease in audience size doesn’t mean you can’t utilize custom audiences at all in your ad targeting.

While auto marketers now have a smaller sample to pull from based on their web activity, you can still target your ads to qualified audiences. Consider focusing your targeting on the following audiences:

  • Custom list of past purchasers and/or service contacts from your CRM
  • Those that have interacted with your Facebook page (and a SAA based on this group of people)
  • Interest-based Facebook targeting options

What About Automotive Dynamic Retargeting Ads?

Unfortunately, auto dealers should expect to see a decrease in reach for dynamic retargeting campaigns, as this type of campaign is explicitly based on web activity.

The good news is that dynamic retargeting campaigns will still run, as the iOS 14 update does not limit web tracking capabilities for non-Apple users and those shopping on desktop.

Plus, app tracking opt-in rates are expected to be nearly 41%, much higher than the original 2%-20% estimate. While your audience size won’t be quite as large as it has been in the past, you will still be able to reach a good chunk of your audience with dynamic retargeting ads for auto dealers!

Your Marketing is More Than a Pixel

Remember that your digital marketing is more than a pixel tracking website behavior. Facebook advertising rarely remains the same for very long, as Facebook is constantly making changes and updates to the platform.

One thing that is certain is that Facebook will continue to be a marketing platform that’s worth the time and investment for auto dealers.

Did you enjoy this article from Jacquelyn Jacobsma? Read other articles on CBT News here. Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at newsroom@cbtnews.com.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.